IF THERE was ever proof that improvements need to be made to rail services then this was it.
Transport minister Patrick McLoughlin was 40 minutes late as he arrived in Fratton train station, in Portsmouth, from London, this morning.
He was here to back Portsmouth South’s Tory parliamentary candidate Flick Drummond’s plans to improve the train link between the city and London.
He said: ‘A trespasser on the lines does mean services have to be suspended for a while and that does mean everybody gets delayed.
‘A guard also didn’t show up at Woking, and these delays can be very frustrating.
‘But £38.5bn was allocated last year for a five-year plan to improve rail services, and it is essential that we do upgrade our railway network.
There needs to be a faster train that runs from Portsmouth Harbour, and goes to London, with fewer stops, as times haven’t improved since Victorian times.Flick Drummond, parliamentary candidate for Tory Portsmouth South
‘Railways are incredibly important to cities, such as here, so we have to upgrade and upgrade signalling in places.
‘We are investing huge amounts of money to bring our railways up to modern day standards.
‘I was here to talk about a better service for Portsmouth which is something Flick has been campaigning for and has spoken to me about on numerous occasions.’
Ms Drummond said the journey between the city and the capital haven’t changed much since the Victorian times.
She said: ‘There needs to be a faster train that runs from Portsmouth Harbour, and goes to London, with fewer stops, as times haven’t improved since Victorian times.
‘Southampton is further away, yet it’s quicker to get to London from there on the train than it is from Portsmouth.
‘An hour and 30 minutes for a journey to London is far too long.
‘Especially as the improvements to the Hindhead Tunnel mean it’s even easier to drive there.
‘There needs to be a train that starts at Portsmouth Harbour, and then stops at Fratton and Woking, before getting to Waterloo.’
Mr McLoughlin, who said he is a frequent train user, thinks re-opening platforms in Waterloo International Terminal will improve journey times.
He said: ‘Opening those terminals would ease congestion coming in to London, as one of the problems is the capacity into London, and opening those platforms would help solve that.’
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